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Orthodox Church in Wrightstown aims for expansion

Members are Christians of many national backgrounds


St. Mark’s Orthodox Church in Wrightstown is gearing up for an expansion.
The pan-orthodox church on Durham Road wants to expand its worship area from 50 seats to 150 seats and add an office, township officials said. Church leaders would also like a community center for parish-use only.
The Wrightstown Board of Supervisors discussed the proposed project at its May 9 work session meeting.
Supervisor Chair Chester Pogonowski said St. Mark’s initially started discussing the potential expansion with the township in 2018.
“With the pandemic, however, they stopped planning,” he shared. “They are now able to move forward with the project.”
Still, he noted, St. Mark’s is at the start of the process. The church needs to get fully engineered development plans together for the township to review, for example.

Depending on those, the church could need a special exception from the zoning hearing board to increase impervious surface, among other potential zoning relief. The church will also likely need land development approval from supervisors.
St. Mark’s Church was founded on Nov. 15, 1972 by a small group of people who aimed to open a parish to Orthodox Christian believers of all national backgrounds. The first meetings and services were held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Doylestown. The parish moved into its own home in Wrightstown in 1988.
In other news from the May 9 meeting, supervisors heard from property owner Mike Sullivan. He wants to convert a barn on a parcel of land he owns next to the township building on Second Street Pike into a catering/banquet business.
Pogonowski said such an operation is allowed as a conditional use under zoning. He also said Sullivan is at the beginning stages of any potential project.
“He would need to undergo a conditional use approval, as well as address land development issues like stormwater management, lighting, hours of operation, etc.,” Pogonowski said. “An old sketch plan was presented which will require a lot of additional work before the project can be formally reviewed.”